Some readers have complained that I’ve been picking on our president too much lately.
I plead not guilty to piling on, although never in my lifetime have we had a presidential newsmaker like our current chief of state.
Sometimes it seems that every time President Trump opens his mouth, out tumbles a provocative faux pas. The media responds like a flock of chickens going after a June bug.
Meanwhile, the president does not shy away from controversy.
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Like one of author Flannery O’Connor’s short story characters, his face is “set not only to meet opposition but to seek it out.”
His controversial condolence message to the widow of Special Forces Sgt. La David Johnson, killed while on a special mission in Africa, is a prime example.
I find myself now wondering if, as Trump’s defenders insist, he could possibly have been misunderstood when he told Johnson’s widow that her husband knew what “he was in for when he signed up.”
Could the president have meant that Sgt. Johnson knew the danger he faced in enlisting in this special group but had enough courage and love of country to risk his life anyway?
A bit of advice for the president as well as for all of us: “Think more and tweet less.”
First is best?
There is an obsession in the human psyche to be first. Coming in second carries with it the suggestion of inferiority.
That’s true, even when second place may mean walking away with $999,000, as was the recent case with PGA golfer Mark Leishman.
A recent News & Observer headline noted that Wake County ranks first in the state in the frequency of snake bites. So where are the “First in Snake Bites” bumper stickers?
I remember when the late Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham was so proud that North Carolina led the nation in the production of turkeys. But his proposal for the state to adopt “First in Turkeys” as its license tag slogan never got off the ground.
I sorely miss Jim Graham and his abiding sense of humor. From time to time, he would call me at work and share such witticisms as, “A.C., if you ever see a terrapin atop a fence post, please know that it didn’t get there by itself.”
I have experienced the elixir of coming in first in a sport only once. During World War II, I was the squadron champ in ping-pong, which is a far cry from winning the Heisman Trophy in football. Ping-pong champs rarely if ever “take the knee” as a protest against social injustice.
Sam to go or stay?
As I write, Silent Sam’s future still seems uncertain.
The question is whether the statue should remain on campus, where it has stood for decades, or be tucked away in a corner of some museum.
The monument to UNC students who died in the nation’s bloodiest war is now said to be a potential inspiration for demonstrations that could lead to injuries.
On the other hand, removing the statue to some obscure location would seem to some like sweeping historical dirt under the rug.
Beware of Bambi
It’s that time again.
The N.C. Department of Transportation reminds motorists that Bambi’s hormones are hopping and deer are on the prowl for romance, posing a hazard for drivers, especially at night.
The DOT advises that if a deer suddenly appears in the path of your car, brake firmly and stay in your lane. If you swerve to avoid the deer, you could end up in the path of another vehicle.
Several years ago, Fred Smith, then superintendent of Wake County Schools, died when his car collided with a deer whose antlers pierced the windshield and fatally injured the driver.